Science: Tonga Volcanic Eruption, Roaming Genes Of Reindeers, Pterosaurs

Scientists scramble to understand the devastating Tongan volcano eruption, and modelling how societal changes might alter carbon emissions.

In this episode:

00:46 Understanding the Tongan eruption

On the 15th of January, a volcano in the South Pacific Ocean erupted, sending ash into the upper atmosphere, and unleashing a devastating tsunami that destroyed homes on Tonga’s nearby islands. Now scientists are trying to work out exactly what happened during the eruption — and what it means for future volcanic risks.

News Feature: Why the Tongan eruption will go down in the history of volcanology

08:49 Research Highlights

The genes associated with reindeers’ roaming behaviour, and how fossilised puke has thrown up new insights into pterosaurs’ stomachs.

Research Highlight: A reindeer’s yearning to travel can be read in its genes

Research Highlight: Petrified puke shows that ancient winged reptiles purged

11:29 Modelling societal changes to carbon emissions

A team of researchers have modelled what humans might do in the face of climate change, and looked at how societal, political and technological changes could alter future emissions.

Research article: Moore et al.

18:12 Briefing Chat

We discuss some highlights from the Nature Briefing. This time, China alters its guidelines for gene-edited crops, and how Guinea worm infections have been driven down from millions of cases a year to just 14.

Nature News: China’s approval of gene-edited crops energizes researchers

Nature News: Just 14 cases: Guinea worm disease nears eradication

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